- Letter Writer
- Naval technology, Letter to the Editor
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 2019 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
We had quite a few responses to the article on Up and Downers in the June 2019 issue with the following which addresses most issues.
I enjoyed the item on ‘Up and Downers’ in the June edition of the NHR but beg permission to add to it.
I believe the last working set in the RAN was aboard the ‘Racing Snail’ HMAS Kimbla which paid off in 1985. Before her was HMAS Diamantina, paying off in 1980, with me aboard as a passenger during her final voyage down Sydney Harbour. Diamantina, with four cylinder triples, is now to be found at the Queensland Maritime Museum in Brisbane.
I was one of the various working parties that kept HMAS Castlemaine looking reasonably neat in the 1950s at FND (Flinders Naval Depot), now HMAS Cerberus. While serving in HMAS Kookaburra in 1956 I regularly took the berthing lines of HM Ships Wagga and Cootamundra as they came and went with reservists from Kuttabul Steps at Garden Island.
Up and Downers can be found aboard the 1938 Manly ferry South Steyne, four cylinders and magnificent to look at,and still workable but with a doubtful future. There is also Lady Hopetoun, the 1902 steam launch and pride of the Sydney Heritage Fleet (SHF), which continues in regular use. The 1927 pilot vessel John Oxley, also of the SHF, remains under refit.
A Triplex engine may also be seen at the Australian National Maritime Museum (ANMM). The car ferry Kara Karawas commissioned into the RAN in WWII and her engine is on display there. The 1902 operational steam launch Ena at the ANMM has a compound two-cylinder engine. In WWI Ena became HMAS Sleuth.
A compound engine in excellent working order may be seen in the steam tug Waratah, also from 1902 and operational at the SHF. Another compound is the ex-ferry Perth from 1911, at the West Australian Maritime Museum.
There is some Up and Downers activity around Hobart, mainly with the restoration of the 1912 Cartela. There are other small working examples around the land – too many to ID here.
I hope this will be of value to your readers,
Graeme Andrews, ex R51410, RAN